Parkland Village Volunteer Manual
To all Parkland Village volunteers:
Parkland Village warmly welcomes you as a volunteer. Volunteers are the very heart of Parkland Village’s mission of helping our older and disabled neighbors to age in place. Most of us long to be able to remain in their homes for as long as possible. We would not be able to function without volunteers like you. The services you will provide as a volunteer are essential not only to our organization, but more importantly to those we serve, and we hope that your service will also enrich your life not only by helping, but by bringing you into contact with neighbors, both those you help and also other volunteers, whom otherwise you might never get to know.
This manual will familiarize you with what you’ll need to know as a Parkland Village volunteer, from how to apply, the background check you’ll need, the pledge you will sign, and the requirements expected of you, to the details of how you’ll be proceeding in providing the array of services open to you based on your background and interests. We could not be more pleased about your decision to volunteer.
The primary goal of Parkland Village is to organize a network of volunteers to assist our older or disabled neighbors who are Parkland Village members in various ways, including:
In doing this, we want to make it possible for our aging neighbors to remain among us as long as safely possible (and, of course, ourselves too, when the time comes).
As an important secondary goal, we hope through our interaction with both recipients of services and other volunteers to get to know each other, establish friendships, and work towards building community in its most basic sense, that of a village, in which we know each other, appreciate each other, and help each other.
Inspired by the national village movement, which consists of well over 200 villages across the U.S. and is supported by the Village to Village Network (www.vtvnetwork.org), Parkland Village (parklandvillageabq.org) was established in 2017 by a number of determined residents in the Parkland Hills neighborhood of Albuquerque, New Mexico. First known as Parkland Hills Village, it has now been expanded to encompass the entire Albuquerque census tract extending from Zuni/Garfield in the north to Gibson in the south, and from San Mateo in the east to Carlisle in the west, and the name has been changed to better reflect this larger area.
As of January, 2019, Parkland Village is a New Mexico nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) status (so donations to the Village are tax deductible). We have a board of directors, several active committees, including a Volunteer Coordination Committee, and an adopted set of bylaws.
Anyone over the age of 18 with a passion for supporting our seniors is welcome to volunteer, and of course there is no upper age limit. Volunteer drivers should be over the age of 25, although the Volunteer Coordination Committee may make exceptions. In addition, teens between the ages of 14 and 18 are welcome to volunteer under the supervision a parent or guardian who is a volunteer.
An application form is included with this manual. Your application will provide the Volunteer Coordination Committee with your contact information and an ability to match you with people who can make use of your interests and skills at the times you are available.
If you intend to provide transportation to Parkland Village members, you will also need to submit a separate driver’s application form. We will not be providing transportation until the pandemic conditions abate sufficiently.
For the safety of those we serve, background checks must be conducted for all prospective volunteers, including a criminal background check. If you will be driving as a part of your volunteer service, a driving background check must first be conducted. Volunteers are expected to pay the cost of background checks, estimated at around $25 annually, unless exempted by the Volunteer Coordination Committee based on inability to pay. All volunteer files will be held in confidence by the Volunteer Coordination Committee.
Volunteer Orientation and Training
All volunteers will be required to attend an orientation and training session before beginning to provide services. Periodic follow-up sessions may be required by Parkland Village. These sessions may be presented online. Any volunteers who have difficulty using a computer for videoconference calls should let us know so that we can help.
The Volunteer Manual
This volunteer manual has been developed for you. We hope to have included all of the information you’ll need to get started and continue to serve as a Parkland Village volunteer. Please familiarize yourself with its contents and refer back to it as you encounter new or unexpected issues. We expect to be updating the manual as we go.
The Volunteer Service Coordinator
The Volunteer Service Coordinator (this position shall rotate) is your primary link to the people you’ll be serving at any given time. For now, we will refer to people receiving services as “service recipients,” “persons,” or “people” (depending on the context), rather than members, because we currently do not have formal memberships. The services we will be providing until pandemic conditions sufficiently abate will be friendly calls, yard work, and food bank deliveries. Prior to launching the full array of services we intend to provide, we will recruit members, establish a dues structure for memberships, and interview prospective members in their homes to assess their needs and the needs of volunteers who will be serving them. At that point, we will revise this volunteer manual.
The on-call Volunteer Service Coordinator (VSC) is responsible for fielding the telephoned or e-mailed requests for service and selecting volunteers to respond to each such request. The selection will be based on volunteers’ expressions of interest and availability. The VSC will contact a selected volunteer to confirm a response and provide contact information for the requesting service recipient. The volunteer will personally contact the service recipient to arrange details, provide the requested service, and report back to the VSC.
If your availability changes after you’ve already arranged a time for the requested service and you’ll be unavailable for only a short time, you can contact the service recipient to reschedule the assignment. Then, call the VSC number to update the VSC of the schedule change. However, if you will be unavailable for an extended period, and the service recipient would like to get the service before you would be available again, call the VSC as soon as you know of your change in availability, so the service recipient’s request can be reassigned promptly.
Newly oriented volunteers will be provided with additional support or mentoring at their request until they feel confident. This process will constitute a learning experience for the Village and volunteers alike. Again, questions can be directed to the VSC, who can be reached at (505) 417-8799.
The Volunteer Identification Badge
Once you have completed your volunteer checklist, you will be issued a Parkland Village ID badge with your name, photo, and the PV logo, held in a plastic sleeve on a lanyard. You will also have a card with resource phone numbers that will fit right behind your ID card. We ask that you wear your ID badge every time you volunteer for Parkland Village unless you’re only making a phone call.
As you’re preparing to go on a volunteer assignment:
Review the volunteer manual particularly before your first couple of assignments. Keep the pdf of the volunteer manual readily accessible on your cellphone so you can refer to it as needed while you are on assignment.
Call the service recipient about 30 minutes before arriving to verify the appointment and to make sure they will be at home when you arrive.
When you are on an assignment:
After an assignment:
Directly after you’ve left the service recipient, call the VSC for your assignment completion call. For the vast majority of your assignments, this will be a short call. This call is always important to complete, even if you have only a minimal amount of information to report. You input regarding the outcome of each of your assignments is vital to help PV as we strive to make our village the best it can be.
We will hold volunteer support meetings at different times during the year to discuss updates in volunteer policies and procedures, and to share what we are all learning as PV volunteers, thereby helping us learn how to be more effective in the services we provide.
In addition, volunteer drivers are expected to:
Working with Service Recipients
Build positive relationships.
Maintain boundaries. Guard your own psychological health.
Signs that you are exceeding your boundaries include:
If you notice any of these signs, be sure to discuss them with the Volunteer Service Coordinator. Remember, you have a responsibility to your own well-being and equilibrium.
Our volunteers are the very heart of Parkland Village. Without you, there would be no way to accomplish our mission of providing the services that will help our neighbors to continue living in their homes for as long as possible. By providing you with this manual, we hope to make your service as a volunteer as easy, effective, enjoyable, and rewarding as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, or encounter any unexpected difficulties, please contact the Volunteer Service Coordinator.
Please contact the Volunteer Service Coordinator at (505) 417-8799 with any questions or concerns you may have.
Volunteer Agreement and Application
As a Parkland Village volunteer, I agree to follow the rules and guidelines described in the Parkland Village Volunteer Manual and related materials to the best of my ability. If my contact information changes, I will notify Parkland Village as soon as possible.
I understand that the Parkland Village Board of Directors, Volunteer Coordinating Committee, and Volunteer Service Coordinator oversee the organizational programs and policies that I participate in and that I will follow their directions. I do understand that from time to time the guidelines may change and that Parkland Village will inform me of those changes and provide them in a timely manner.
Name _______________________________ (please print)
Signature ____________________________ Date __________________
Volunteer Application Form
Telephone (home) ____________________________________________
Telephone (mobile) ___________________________________________
Age 18 or over: Yes _____ No _____
Consent to background check: Yes _____ No _____
If providing transportation:
Driver’s License Number _______________________________________
Services you are interested in providing (please check):
_____ Light home repairs
_____ Friendly visits/calls
_____ Yard work
_____ Technical assistance
_____ Other (please describe) ___________________________________________________
Thank you for your application and your interest in volunteering with Parkland Village!
Volunteer Guide to Conversation during Friendly Calls and Visits
Those of our service recipients who find themselves living alone, either by choice or through the loss of a partner, may experience isolation, which can lead to depression or other debilitating or even dangerous circumstances. A part of Parkland Village’s mission is to try to ensure that no service recipient faces social isolation. For that reason, volunteers may be asked to reach out to them through home visits or phone calls.
If, based on your interests, you are assigned to provide a service recipient with a friendly (sometimes referred to as compassionate) visit or call, you might wonder what you will talk about during that call or visit. The short answer is pretty much anything you and the person would like to talk about. Casual conversation is always an option. If the person wants to talk about the weather, a sports event, or an entertaining show they watched on TV, you are free to talk about it. If you find yourself bored or made uncomfortable by the conversation, you can gently try to change the topic until you find a topic you both enjoy talking about. You can also ask the person what they like about whatever they have chosen to talk about, and in that way, you can move the conversation a little deeper.
If, during the conversation, it becomes apparent that the person needs a specific service, whether or not it is one that the Village offers, you can ask them if they would like you to talk to the Volunteer Service Coordinator to find out if the Village or another agency could offer to provide that service. Ideally, The Village could then either schedule the service for that person or refer them to another agency that would be best suited to provide it.
The service recipient may well want to talk about personal experiences that were pleasurable or disturbing. In that case, one of the best tools to use in your conversation is reflective listening (also known as “active listening” – and goes by several other names). Reflective listening is a helpful skill that can be used in many walks of life. Using reflective listening principles during a conversation with a service recipient can help that person feel you clearly understand what they are expressing.
The experience of having another human being fully understand what one is saying can be a powerful one, when used in conversations in which the person expresses mixed feelings and uncertainty about something in their life. Verbalizing their contradictory attitudes and feelings in an emotionally neutral way can stimulate the person to take steps to resolve their ambivalence and move in a positive direction. Or it can just make a person feel more connected to the world and alleviate their loneliness.
Reflective listening can be used in a great variety of situations, but probably is not appropriate in casual conversation. If the speaker begins to talk about something important to them or something that happened to them, try using reflective listening. If the speaker doesn’t respond well, go back to casual conversation.
Guidelines for reflective listening:
4. As you go along, it may be effective also to note feelings that may underlie what the speaker is saying. You might say, “If that happened to me, I’d be pretty upset” (or sad, happy, angry) - whatever is appropriate to the story. Then see if the speaker confirms that you are right about what they are feeling. Some people will say, “Oh yes, I did,” and then elaborate. Some speakers may not want feelings talked about. If they don’t say anything, stick to reflecting on what happened. Encourage the speaker to go on: “So what happened then?”
To summarize: In reflective listening the listener starts by just repeating in their own words what the speaker has said. As things proceed, the listener begins to put herself/himself in the position of the speaker and to identify with the speaker’s feelings and thoughts. The listener checks in with the speaker from time to time to be sure that he/she has it right: facts, feelings, and thoughts.
Advice is best avoided whether you are in a casual or a reflective listening form of conversation with a service recipient. Assume that the person wants to be “heard” and not “helped.” If a person asks you directly, “What do you think I should do?”, you can respond with a question such as, “I bet you’ve thought a lot about that. What have you considered?” As the person talks further, often the answer becomes clear to them.
If the speaker remains in a quandary or it seems that they may need some kind of outside assistance, discuss this with the Volunteer Service Coordinator. Don’t attempt to fix a problem on your own as part of reflective listening.
Dealing with Emergencies, Health Issues, and Problematic Situations
Parkland Village’s primary goal is to provide support to our neighbors so that they can remain in their homes as long as possible. If you find that a service recipient is experiencing a sudden and unexpected change in status, and they are in a physical health, mental health, or safety crisis, your best resources for assistance are to call 911 for health-related crises, or the New Mexico Crisis & Access line for mental health/coping crises at 1 (855) 662-7474. The trained professionals who answer these phone lines are very knowledgeable. They will help you help the service recipient to get the needed assistance.
You won’t need to memorize any resource phone numbers. You will be given a card with a list of resources and phone numbers. Please keep it right behind your PV identification badge.
Working with the Hearing Impaired
There’s a good chance that as you interact with seniors, you’ll meet someone who has difficulty hearing.
Working with the Visually Impaired
Working with People Who Use Wheelchairs or Have Difficulty Walking
If a service recipient has an accident:
If there are signs of a heart attack, call 911 immediately. Signs of a heart attack include:
If there are signs of a stroke, call 911. Signs include:
If you think a member may be suffering a heart attack or stroke, call 911. Note the time symptoms began, because a clot-busting medication that can resolve symptoms for a specific type of stroke must begin within 3 hours of when symptoms began for the best result.
If a service recipient fails to answer the door
Duty to Report
New Mexico has a “Duty to Report” provision in state law that states: “Any person, or financial institution, having reasonable cause to believe that an incapacitated adult is being abused, neglected or exploited shall immediately report that information to Adult Protective Services.” Adult Protective Services remains on call for emergency reports of adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe
If, while you’re on an assignment, there is something about the situation that is making you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, first verify that the service recipient is safe, and then let them know that you must leave unexpectedly, despite not having completed your assignment. You have an obligation to your own safety. It’s okay to make up a pretext for leaving early if necessary. Immediately upon leaving, call the VSC and report the situation. We will support you in your decision, and we will contact the service recipient to determine how best to resolve the potential safety issue and complete the assignment.